Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am so pleased to introduce you to Laurel Hawkes. I love bringing you authors I personally know, and as I read Laurel’s interview, I discovered that my writing has encouraged her! Isn’t God wonderful!? I hope you enjoy Laurel’s interview as much as I did. And, read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of Laurel’s recent release!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’ve been a Christian all my life. I’m also an abuse survivor. I often allowed the abuse to define me more than my faith. I’m learning to follow God’s guidance in my journey to becoming healthy. I’ve worked as a cashier, house cleaner/hotel maid, switchboard operator, reservation agent, ASL interpreter, teacher’s aid, transcriptionist, writer, and now caregiver. I owned rabbits, a dog, and a horse, all of whom I miss. I enjoy reading, writing, cooking, music, flowers, time with friends and family. I re-discovered my love of writing about 15 years ago. I’d rather write than anything else, except breathing. Since becoming my dad’s caregiver, writing sometimes must wait.
Tell us about your current release. My latest release, Blessing Basket, was the 13th novella in my Holiday, USA series. I love holiday novellas and decided to write a whole series in between working on novels. Blessing Basket tells the story of Cici and Trace, characters introduced in previous Holiday, USA stories. They both have secrets and struggles. It isn’t easy for either of them to trust God let alone each other. Each novella stands alone, but characters appear in other stories.
If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? I’ve been the one for numerous authors, whether they know it or not. I knew if I cut out the Christian element I could write to a broader audience. Jesus is such an integral part of becoming healthier. I can’t pretend some nebulous something changes lives. In seven years, not many people have read my books, but a few have told me how much they appreciate my stories. Yes, it’s worth it for the one.
How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher? This is really tough when you don’t see the financial benefits. I remember being told to not expect to make money, but, of course, I thought I’d be one of the exceptions. I’m not. I take it to God and ask, “Are You sure this is what I’m supposed to be doing?” God has reassured me every time. God’s plans are not my plans, and His plans are better. He doesn’t worry about finances like I do, but He has provided every need. I keep taking the next step. The awesome publisher who gave me a chance closed and returned my books to me. I really questioned God. I decided to take what I’d learned and rewrite my first published books. It’s taking longer than I planned, but forward is forward. My writing is flexible and works with my caregiving responsibilities.
What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? I have several methods: Change locations and tools; instead of writing at my computer, I go to a favorite eatery, with pen and paper. I write Regency, Vintage, and contemporary, and I’ll switch to a different story. Most often, I ask myself, “What comes next?” It”s easy to become lost in the big picture and reaching the end; it helps to remember the little everyday things that move life forward, whether or not we’re ready.
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I’ve tried to plot out stories, and every single time, the characters swerve in a completely different direction. Most of the time, it’s a linear process and guided by the characters. I have one exception. I’m currently in rewrites for A Promise of Possibilities, the first Regency book in my Endless Possibilities series. The second book, Hidden Possibilities, is the only book I’ve written mostly backwards. I completed the first two chapters and didn’t know how to move forward. The last chapter came into my mind. I wrote it and asked, “How did the story arrive here?” I wrote the second to last chapter. Then I wondered how I got there, all the way from end to beginning, one chapter at a time.
Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? I write first for me. I wanted characters who struggled with the same things I did. Too many Christian romances were so sweet I couldn’t relate. I needed characters who knew what it was like to be abused, neglected, struggling to hold on, fighting to keep believing in God’s love and grace. Hallee’s books inspired me. I realized I’m not alone. People need to know they aren’t alone.
What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? I’m learning how to ask God for inspiration. Music, especially Christmas music, is one of my favorite and most productive. Sitting in the airport or at my favorite eatery, watching people, my mind wanders into “Who is that? What’s their story? What if?”
Here is where you can find Laurel online:
Blessing Basket: http://a.co/8o1meMa
Laurel is giving away an ebook of Blessing Basket to a lucky reader! See below how you can enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway